DEFINITION of 'EUR'

The currency code used in the general industry to represent the euro, the official currency for more than half of the 27 members of the European Union (EU). The Eurozone states are Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain. As of March 2009, five other non-Eurozone members were also using the currency.

The name "euro" was selected in 1995; the currency replaced the former European Currency Unit (ECU). It was introduced on January 1, 1999, and began circulating in 2002. The most commonly used euro coins are 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50 cents and the most frequently used euro banknotes denominations are 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100.

BREAKING DOWN 'EUR'

The euro is overseen by the European Central Bank (ECB), headquartered in Frankfurt, Germany, and the Eurozone member countries' central banks. Several countries also peg their currency to the euro, including Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Cape Verde, Central Africa and several others.

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